I was looking through some questions and found this question about the catnap spell (XGtE, p. 151).

In what scenario might this spell be useful, considering that the spell says willing creatures?

The only thing I can see is that you may use it on a class that restores some stuff on a short rest if you don't have that much time for a short rest (short rest being 1 hour, catnap being 10 min).

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    \$\begingroup\$ @András See this FAQ for why your comment was removed. Thanks! \$\endgroup\$ Nov 12 '18 at 23:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ I misread the title and thought of something like this: Catnip spell - affects all types of felines, applies status effect unconscious. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 13 '18 at 7:24

Catnap is a shorter short rest

If a target remain unconscious for [ten minutes], that target gets the benefit of a short rest ...

This is supposed to be a helpful spell not an offensive one. You use it on allies to give them the benefit of a short rest (which normally takes at least an hour) in only 10 minutes.

Short rests have many useful effects like refreshing some class features, allowing hit dice to be spent to restore HP, and ending some harmful effects. This spell would allow allies to reap these benefits in at least 1/6 the time.

Examples where this might be handy

This is obviously going to be the most useful when time is of the essence. Maybe you are being pursued by enemies and you need to refresh but don't want them to gain too much ground. Maybe you are the ones chasing an enemy and time is important for the same reason. Maybe you have to be in a place at a certain time and you don't have long much time to get there.

Other situational uses

I suppose the spell could also be very situationally useful if you needed a way to gently knock a willing elf unconscious. It works for any willing creature of course, but elves are more limited since they cannot be affected by sleep spells which is a common way to impose the unconscious condition in a non-aggressive way. I actually had one time where this came in handy in a campaign of mine, but I really don't expect this to be a very common use at all.

You could also, very theoretically, use this on an enemy that trusts you and willingly submits to the spell. Maybe you go undercover and disguise yourself. This seems pretty unlikely and I'm not sure that Catnap would be the best spell even to use in a case like this and it would depend on how your DM defines "willing", but it could be another use.

Rapidly taking a short rest is the primary and intended use of the spell.

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    \$\begingroup\$ "Catnip" -- not quite, but an amusing typo. \$\endgroup\$
    – phyrfox
    Nov 12 '18 at 18:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ @phyrfox how was that up for that long without anybody telling me?! XD \$\endgroup\$
    – Rubiksmoose
    Nov 12 '18 at 18:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ It could also potentially be used offensively if you have some way to trick your opponents into becoming willing. Disguises or illusions to make them think the caster is on their side might do it depending on whether or not "willing" implies knowledge that the spell will cause them to lose consciousness, or merely that they have to not attempt to resist an unknown spell from an ally. In the former case it might require suggestion or something as well. \$\endgroup\$
    – Perkins
    Nov 12 '18 at 22:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ "I have such a headache, do you have any spell for that?" the bad guy said to a disguised mage. "I have just a thing. May I cast it on you?" \$\endgroup\$
    – jo1storm
    Nov 13 '18 at 10:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Mast Deceiving them long enough to cast one spell on them is far simpler than maintaining the deception while you tell them to stop attacking your comrades. \$\endgroup\$
    – Perkins
    Nov 13 '18 at 17:08

My favorite use of catnap is to "cheat" spell durations.

For example, the caster I play (a bard) took catnap after he and two other casters in the party took crown of stars (XGtE, p. 152). For anyone who doesn't know, it is a non-concentration spell with a duration of 1 hour that allows you to deal damage as a bonus action.

The important bit is that one-hour duration. Normally, if you got injured and were forced to take a short rest, the duration of the spell would expire by the time you finished the rest. With catnap, you can cheat the duration of spells such as crown of stars by keeping it up even after taking a short(er) rest.

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    – V2Blast
    Feb 28 '19 at 20:59

I felt obligated to say this but for Warlocks, if you have a ranger in the party and they know Catnap, it is really useful. Warlocks regain all spell slots in a short rest so instead of resting for an hour, single catnap spell and they regain all spell slots. Had a ranger in my campaign once enchant a single ring for around 10 sessions to get it lasting permanently. Was really useful for my Hexblade Eldritch Smiting Warlock

TL;DR - Warlocks get all spell slots back in a short rest, catnap is shorter short rest

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    May 23 '20 at 13:32

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